Senioritis plagues us all

We’re at the beginning of Week 7, and I still feel like the semester is just starting. Every week I look at my syllabi and have no idea what’s going on in my classes. I’m graduating in May–less than 3 months away!–and I have less motivation than ever before. I feel very apathetic about doing the things I need to get done.

I’ve heard from a few first-year students that have admitted they’re in similar situations. The weather has been snowy and dreary, and if you mix that with a warm, comfy blanket and Netflix, you get a perfect storm that equals you not going to class. Trust me, I’ve been there! And the weather recently has been so nice that I want to spend more time outside, instead of studying in the library.

For some people, it’s more than the weather. Once the newness of classes wears off, our obligations don’t seem as important. We get in a rut and convince ourselves that not going to [fill in the blank] won’t really matter. We need to be reminded that our choices can have serious repercussions later down the road if we’re not careful. Letting yourself skip one class becomes five classes, and suddenly you’ve missed a few pop quizzes. It’s a slippery slope to go down!

If you think you might be sliding down that slippery slope, as yourself these questions:

  • Have I been managing my time well?
  • When I have free time, I usually ______.
  • Do I tend to procrastinate instead of working ahead?

It’s easy to think that the answer is to tell myself that I should do better or I just need to try harder. Except that’s not encouraging, and definitely not what I want to hear. I think it’s okay to recognize that these feelings are valid, but it’s not okay to keep sitting in this season of complacency. I can see where I’m really pulling away from some responsibilities, and why I don’t want to experience those outcomes.

Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re in the same boat:

  • Reward yourself only AFTER you’ve accomplished a set task. (e.g. I’ll spend 15 minutes on Instagram after I finish reading Chapter 12.)
  • Change your scenery. Do you always workout at JOS? Try rock climbing at the ARC. Always study at Thompson? Try a study room in your residence hall. Sometimes exploring new settings can help re-energize you!
  • Identify what’s holding you back from success. Is it the need for a nap? Or do you get stuck watching hours of Netflix? Do you always say yes to hangout with friends when you need to study?

The struggle to find motivation plagues all of us at one point or another. Think about some of my suggestions and how you see those playing out in your own life. I also encourage you to start a conversation with a roommate, friend, coworker or mentor about different motivation strategies. Maybe someone has a cool approach that you want to try!

As always, know that the FYE Peer Leaders are here to help! Reach out to one of us if you have any questions or concerns. You can also email me directly: hageman.64s@osu.edu.

When Stress is Too Much

School is stressful. And having a little bit of stress in your life is good—it keeps you motivated and makes life interesting. But too much stress can be unhealthy. And other times, stress is a symptom, not the problem. So, when is stress too much to handle and when is it time to figure things out? Well, let’s take a look at a couple indicators of when you might need to take your stress to a doctor.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and what I say should not be used as a reason to NOT go to a doctor. If you have any question about it at all, it is better to get it sorted out as soon as possible!

Symptoms

Here’s the real deal: typical stress has a lot of the same symptoms as many other underlying causes. Take clinical depression, for example (I am EXTREMELY passionate about depression). Both stress and depression share the symptoms of feeling bad about yourself, avoiding others, feeling overwhelmed and a lack of control, and becoming easily agitated or moody. A lot of other physical health issues have similar symptoms, as well. So, how do you know whether stress is the problem or if stress is just a symptom? My general rule of thumb for this is if you experience five differences between your normal self and your “stressed out” self, you should see a doctor. For me, if I am experiencing a difficult time sleeping, a lack of motivation, an agitated mood, and two other symptoms, I know that I need to go to my doctor! Once again, this is not all-encompassing. Even if you have just one symptom, you still have reason to go see a doctor. Always check with your doctor if you have any concerns.

Time period

Stress is usually dependent on the stressors of your life. These stressors may include family or social pressures, upcoming midterms or assignments, a lack of sleep, etc. But when the stress lasts even after the stressor is gone, you might want to take a closer look at it. My general rule of thumb is two weeks, but this is just a recommendation. If you notice any of the symptoms talked about previously that last more than two weeks, check with your doctor!

How it affects your daily life

Especially regarding mental health, a big factor in treatment is how your life is affected by the illness. But for anything in life–if you notice a decline in your grades, a decline in enjoyment in fun activities, or a decline in your social life–it may be a reason to check with your doctor. Stress should only impact your life in minor ways. In my experience, the agitated mood I used to get would negatively impact my relationships with everyone I interacted with on a daily basis. And when I realized that I was losing my friends because of my mood, I realized I needed to make a change!

And finally…

Whether the issue is stress or something more, there is help available! Check out the many resources the Counseling and Consultation Services has to offer by going to their website or by going to Let’s Talk, which offers free and confidential drop-in consultations in the Lower Level Meeting Room at the Union on Thursdays from 2:30-4:30. Or go to the Wilce Student Health Center for a check-up and overall health care. You can make an appointment online, by phone, or in person. Maybe you just need some time to relax and destress or learn about stress and time management. If this is the case, you can check out the First Year Success Series to register for a session, and get credit for your survey class!

Being stressed out in college is normal–but not a reason to deny yourself help if you become over-stressed or if you need some time to de-stress. Being proactive and listening to your body will benefit you in the long run, especially if something else is contributing to your feelings of stress. Put your wellness in a professionals hands. Your future self will thank your present self.

Avoiding a Spring Semester Slump

It’s about that time in the semester (and mid-polar vortex) that you want to permanently apply sweatpants to your body and never leave your bed, right? WELL THAT’S JUST TOO DARN BAD! There are classes to attend, opportunities to explore and new friends to be made! You can’t spend spring semester snoozing away!

So now that you think that I am way too perky to handle, let’s get back to reality. It’s cold, life sucks and it’s hard to remember what motivation feels like. I know. The struggle of getting out of bed when it is -8° and feels like -10,000° is so real. But Buckeyes, you must persevere! Spring semester is simply Round 2 of your first year and so important for you to be fully engaged. Don’t lose your motivation to succeed and explore the amazing university that you call your home.

5 Easy Tips to Stay Motivated

1)      Set Small Goals

Imagine what you want to have accomplished by the end of your first year as a Buckeye. Is that making the Dean’s List, figuring out the right major for you or becoming involved in one organization? Going back to the cold, maybe that means not skipping those 8 a.m. classes all semester…14 weeks of 8 a.m.classes…

Once you’ve got that, break it down into smaller goals that you can achieve on your way to the big one! Maybe that means going to one prof’s office hours each week, emailing two clubs to find out more information or only letting yourself hit snooze once per morning. Celebrate the accomplishments of these small goals!

2)      Organize Your Time

Organization is key to being a successful Buckeye, so put some effort into organizing your schedule! Having that Dates & Data planner written out each week prevents those last-minute panics of forgetting assignments or missing that awesome OUAB event that you heard about. Perhaps you didn’t plan time to hang out with your new friends or workout and now you’re feeling some major blues.

Just think how many calories I could burn if I exercised as much as I pin!

Organizing your time into a healthy work-play balance will keep that stress level down and on-track for an awesome semester!

3)      Find Inspiration

Sometimes it may feel like you’re slogging through your week-to-week schedule, but remember the reasons why you came to Ohio State in the first place. Most people had multiple goals: obtain that college degree, branch out on your own, make new friends, the list goes on. Be sure to remember the inspiration that will carry you through this semester and remember the big picture! And hey, if you wanna do some daily affirmations in the mirror just make sure no one else is listening at the bathroom door.

Red Dot | Cat Meme

4)      Develop a Support Group

As Buckeyes, we’re all part of a BIG family. We crave social support to lead happy lives and our friends and family can be that support system! Forming study groups in your classes or recruiting that one friend on your floor to join you once a week at the RPAC spinning class will help give you that extra motivation to achieve your goals. Besides, doesn’t it feel good to know that someone actually cares when they ask you how you’re doing today?

5)      Believe in Yourself

Finally, believe in yourself! Buckeyes are all here for a reason. Someone believed that you could go to Ohio State and be successful. Maybe that was a parent, high school teacher or even one of our admissions officers. Take their confidence and instill it into your little Scarlet & Gray heart!

You CAN stay motivated and finish out your first year as a Buckeye to make it the best it can be. Believe that you alone have the power to take this experience to new heights – besides, everyone else can only dream about how great it is to be a Buckeye. You actually get to live it. Don’t hate us cuz we go to the Best Damn School in the Land.

Sorry not sorry.